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Wednesday, March 17, A.D. 2010
Words That Hurt

A few months ago, I read the following article about a Washington state legislator who wishes to remove “negative language” from state law: “Wash. lawmaker wants to banish negative language.”

Decades ago, poor children became known as “disadvantaged” to soften the stigma of poverty. Then they were “at-risk.” Now, a Washington lawmaker wants to replace those euphemisms with a new one, “at hope.” . . . Positive labeling is more than a gimmick or political correctness, Franklin says. She believes her idea could lead to a paradigm shift in state government and to changes in classrooms across the state.

Of course, the politician is a Democratic woman, Rosa Franklin. I suspected that Franklin was black from the level of unseriousness that she exudes in the article, and I was correct.

By stating such, I am not referring to population disparities in the intelligence bell curve. Rather, and perhaps relatedly, there is far less quality control in the Democratic Party for their black politicians. Leftists harbor many stupid ideas based on foolish principles and the consequent unwillingness to consider reality when the world contradicts their cherished values. However, despite their perplexing adherence to stupid ideas, most Leftists in positions of power are not stupid themselves. Yet, Democrats’ white guilt and noblesse oblige curdle together to mollify any criticism of the leaders that poor, dysfunctional black communities elect. Occasionally, after much long suffering, the Democratic establishment may attempt to hoodwink the masses with back room political coups, but the diversity tooting Democrats are content to allow clowns to run around the circus as long as their antics do not generate too much bad press. As we know from experience, it takes a lot of bad press to tarnish a black Democrat politician—that soft bigotry of low expectations is rather widespread.

Yet, does Franklin fit that mold? My guess was that she was a public school teacher before politics. However, it turns out that she was a nurse who entered politics after being involved in community charities. According to an online biography, she has been married for almost sixty years and she is likely a pious Protestant. So, maybe we can simply attribute her silly ideas to classic, well intentioned, Christian Leftism.

My friend Andrew used to remark that Leftists locate power and meaning in words rather than the ideas and experiences behind words. Perhaps, this is logical for nominalist, postmodernist, deconstructionist folks who reduce insight and thought to word play and confusion. For many of them, there is no nature—only descriptions of our imagined objectivity that seem to originate in the will rather than the intellect. For the consistent (well, as consistent as such people can be), discourse can never be a joint labor with the ascent to the truth as its goal. Argument is simply a battle for domination. As such, propaganda replaces philosophy; he who frames the debate wins (and thus imposes his will on others). Have you ever wondered why the Left loves George Lakoff so much? He speaks their truth to them, insofar as they can use the word truth.

I do not deny that word choice is very important, and “framing the debate” matters immensely in persuasion. However, true thinking ought to rise above rhetoric. It must strive to overcome the limitations of convention and of the routine, well worn paths of the herd. Yet, it is this possibility that Leftist nihilists deny. For the honest ones, it is all about the will to power.

I certainly do not think that low level left wing politicians consciously entertain decadent Nietzschean or even Derridean theories, but I do think that the general world view and assortment of values and commitments of the political Left have been fully colonized by anti-rational philosophical theories (“philosophical” taken quite liberally). The judgmental non-judgmentalism, the intolerant cult of tolerance, the dogmatic hatred of dogma, and the (pseudo-)rational undermining of reason that pervade Leftist thinking all seep from the same murky waters. Dear Rosa Franklin may not realize the ideological genealogy of her proposal to help children through newspeak, but she has been compromised. She may genuinely wish to help “at hope” youth, but her understanding of the world has been distorted to think that words—and systems in general—are more primary than ideas and minds.

By the way, happy Saint Patrick’s Day to the Micks on the new calendar!

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, March 17, Anno Domini 2010
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